Optimization of living radical polymerization through distributed control of energy

Aviel Faliks, Richard A. Yetter, Christodoulos A. Floudas, Yen Wei, Herschel Rabitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An optimal control methodology is applied to the goal of lowering the reaction time while maintaining low polydispersity in living free-radical polymerization. An illustration is provided using a heat flux to optimize the temperature profile for living free-radical polymerization of styrene in a plug flow reactor. The reactor designs show that distributed heat flux along the length of the reactor can reduce the reaction time significantly for a given conversion. The reduction in residence time comes at the expense of a modest increase in polydispersity. A reference simulation with no optimization shows a conversion of 85% after 70 h and a final polydispersity of 1.31. Optimization of a distributed heat flux results in a conversion of 83% after only 33 h while the polydispersity rises slightly to 1.39. The theoretical designs, although not proven to be globally optimal, are of high quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2797-2801
Number of pages5
JournalMacromolecular Chemistry and Physics
Issue number13
StatePublished - Sep 18 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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